And there we go. Earlier then scheduled, but immediately following the general audience, Pope Benedict XVI sent out the inaugural tweet from his own account:
“Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart.”
And with well over 5,000 retweets in the first seven minutes, it is bound to have broken some records. Catholic Herald editor Luke Coppen wondered beforehand if US President Barack Obama’s record of most retweets would be broken. His 7 November tweet following his re-election was retweeted more than 400,000 times within hours. Whether the papal tweet will exceed that number, we won’t know for a few hours yet.
Twitter Vice-President Claire Diaz-Ortiz, who was present in the Paul VI Hall, said that the pope’s combined Twitter accounts exceeded 1,000,000 followers as Benedict sent his tweet.
It is said that Pope Benedict will answer several questions on the topic of faith, which were addressed to him using the #askpontifex hashtag, over the course of today.
For now, as we wait what the rest of the day will bring, let’s enjoy the Holy Father’s kind words and thank him for reaching out to us in this way.
Photo credit: Screenshot from the Vatican video player, courtesy of Catholic News Service